A broader perspective on health and wellbeing

An escape is needed. From the cacophony of clanging construction to the loud rumbling of cars, trucks and trains, for some, the only respite is a 45 minute yoga session during their lunch break. And whilst yoga has been well-documented for its direct physiological impact in reducing stress by lowering the body’s cortisol levels, for many of us, this may only provide temporary relief from the afflictions of our environment and daily life. 

“Yoga is not a work-out, it is a work-in. And this is the point of spiritual practice, to make us teachable, to open up our hearts and focus our awareness so that we can know what we already know and be who we already are.”

– Rolf Gates

Yoga takes us on a journey inward, and encourages us to find tranquility despite the chaos that we may be experiencing outside of ourselves. But a change in environment can give our mind and body the opportunity to connect deeper with both nature and ourselves. Plan your next getaway to one of these 8 blissfully beautiful yoga retreats from all corners of the world. 

Ananda in the Himalayas, India

Photos courtesy of Ananda In The Himalayas – @anandainthehimalayas
Photos courtesy of Ananda In The Himalayas – @anandainthehimalayas
Photos courtesy of Ananda In The Himalayas – @anandainthehimalayas
Photos courtesy of Ananda In The Himalayas – @anandainthehimalayas
Photos courtesy of Ananda In The Himalayas – @anandainthehimalayas
Photos courtesy of Ananda In The Himalayas – @anandainthehimalayas
Photos courtesy of Ananda In The Himalayas – @anandainthehimalayas

When nurturing one’s spirituality, a majestic and raw surrounding is beneficial, and it doesn’t get more ideal than in the mountains of India. With a sweeping view of the plains below and the holy river Ganges, the Ananda in Himalayas’s 40 hectare estate is serenity personified. Located inside the Viceregal Palace, once home to the Tehri Garhwal Maharaja, Ananda oozes elegance and charm.

Offering yoga detox programs of 5, 7, 14, or 21 nights on a full board basis, completed with Ayurvedic and personal yoga consultation and spa treatments, the yoga teachings are based on the Bihar School of Yoga, founded by yoga guru Satyananda Saraswati. With Hatha yoga as the root, more dynamic practices of Gatyatmak for the intermediate Kriya Yoga, which taps into the psychic energy, is also available for more advanced practitioners. 

In addition, guests have full use of their spa facilities during their stay, and they also offer weekly activities such as cooking demonstrations and treks in the area, including to the Kunjapuri temple dedicated to the goddess Shakti.

To learn more about Ananda in the Himalayas, visit their website here.

Soma Byron Bay, Australia

Photos courtesy of Soma Byron – @soma.byron
Photos courtesy of Soma Byron – @soma.byron
Photos courtesy of Soma Byron – @soma.byron
Photos courtesy of Soma Byron – @soma.byron
Photos courtesy of Soma Byron – @soma.byron

It’s hard to believe that only ten minutes from Byron Bay is another world: the Soma Byron Bay. Embedded in 22 acres of bamboo forest, the sleek, chic, and modern yoga retreat is an ideal place for those to recharge and enjoy nature.

Four types of full board retreats are available, suited to different needs. The Soma Meditation takes 3D2N, focusing on Vedic Meditation and daily yoga. Soma Advance involves 4D3N of daily yoga and two treatments, whilst the Soma Masterclass offers a combination of Jiu Jitsu, yoga, surf, and mindset workshop over 5D4N. Lastly, the Soma Redesign involves daily treatment, a cleansing menu with Vedic Meditation and private yoga mentoring on top of daily movement class. All meals are prepared by their in-house Ayurvedic chef and from organic ingredients.

All yoga classes are carried out in their Geo-design yoga dome, an artfully crafted place guaranteed to help you connect with your practice. Other entertainment involves a refreshing freshwater pool, communal fire pit for night-time hangouts, and an outdoor cinema.

To visit Soma Byron Bay, visit their website here.

Aro Hā, New Zealand

Photos courtesy of Aro-Hā Wellness Retreats – @aroharetreats
Photos courtesy of Aro-Hā Wellness Retreats – @aroharetreats
Photos courtesy of Aro-Hā Wellness Retreats – @aroharetreats
Photos courtesy of Aro-Hā Wellness Retreats – @aroharetreats
Photos courtesy of Aro-Hā Wellness Retreats – @aroharetreats
Photos courtesy of Aro-Hā Wellness Retreats – @aroharetreats
Photos courtesy of Aro-Hā Wellness Retreats – @aroharetreats
Photos courtesy of Aro-Hā Wellness Retreats – @aroharetreats

Nestled in the pristine New Zealand Southern Alps, Aro Hā is a retreat for the adventurous and mindful. The name, in Te Reo, means “in the presence of divine breath.”, which truly encapsulates the ambience in Aro Hā. The minimalist eco-resort has a collection of single-storey, airy, and open wooden buildings with a breathtaking view of the mountains and Lake Wakatipu.

They run two types of retreats, both all-inclusive with zero hidden costs: the Revive & Thrive for 6D5N or the Revive & Thrive Plus for 8D7N. The meals are vegetarian, paleo friendly, gluten and dairy free as well as enzymatically active, with detox days being optional.

They offer single, twin, or king bed eco-rooms that are spacious with spectacular views, however bathrooms are shared. Focusing on mindfulness and wellbeing activities, retreat-goers start the day by waking up to the sound of Tibetan bells for a sunrise yoga, followed by an invigorating hike, spa treatments, and various individual or group activities.

To explore Aro-Ha for your next retreat, visit their website here.

Four Seasons Maldives, Landaa Giraavaru

Photos courtesy of Four Seasons Maldives – @fsmaldives
Photos courtesy of Four Seasons Maldives – @fsmaldives
Photos courtesy of Four Seasons Maldives – @fsmaldives
Photos courtesy of Four Seasons Maldives – @fsmaldives
Photos courtesy of Four Seasons Maldives – @fsmaldives
Photos courtesy of Four Seasons Maldives – @fsmaldives

For those wanting to be off-the-grid, find yourself transferred to the tropical paradise in Four Seasons Maldives. The resort is in the heart of the UNESCO biosphere reserve Baa Atoll, with an on-site Marine Discovery Center and their award-winning AyurMa Wellness Retreat. 

‘AyurMa’ is Sanskrit for ‘Mother of Life’, and their wellness retreat is supported by the 4 pillars of Ayurveda, Yoga Therapy, Wellness and Planetary Wellbeing. Their approach is about cultivating care for oneself, others, the oceans, and our earth. 

With 3-acres of land, AyurMa is dedicated to natural healing with 10 open-air treatment pavilions surrounded by lush tropical gardens or suspended over a turquoise lagoon. From Ayurvedic therapies to Panchakarma detoxes, AyurMa Wellness offers 7, 14, and 21 days Ayurvedic packages. Being the world’s first Resort to offer Yoga Therapy courses, in conjunction with S-VYASA (the world’s first university for yoga), they have personalized programs targeted at treating various conditions for guests. From stress, addiction, or general health, guests can opt for a yoga therapy course with tailored itineraries and practices. 

For accommodation, choose between watching the sunset and sunrise every day by staying in a water villa, or enjoy the beach in the beach villa or oceanfront bungalow. Family options are readily available with 2 and 3 bedroom villas or bungalows, too.

In addition to complimentary snorkelling, kayaking, windsurfing, and catamaran sailing, perhaps the most magical experience outside of your yoga journey is swimming with manta rays or rehabilitating sea turtles in the Marine Discovery Center. Taking the AyurMa yoga retreat at the Four Seasons Maldives would certainly be an unforgettable experience. 

To learn more about the AyurMa Yoga Retreat at Four Seasons Maldives, visit their website here.

Mahakala Center, Montenegro

Photos courtesy of Mahakala Center – @mahakalacenter
Photos courtesy of Mahakala Center – @mahakalacenter
Photos courtesy of Mahakala Center – @mahakalacenter
Photos courtesy of Mahakala Center – @mahakalacenter
Photos courtesy of Mahakala Center – @mahakalacenter

Montenegro might not be the first place people look at for a yoga retreat, but the Mahakala Center is an eco-villa on the side of the mountain overlooking the Adriatic Sea. Founded by a mother-daughter team, the center is a non-profit that gives back to the local community with no hidden costs. They run an 8D7N Relax & Restore yoga retreat with a slower-paced yoga style, but the exact style depends on the teacher for the retreat. Other workshops are also available such as pranayama and mantra meditation.

Welcome and end each day on their open air yoga terrace, and one session at the beach platform. Two activities are included with a private boat tour exploring the coastline and a guided cliff walk. But with the beach a 15 minutes’ walk away and plenty of trails nearby, you won’t be starved for things to do. Relax and unwind in the evening in one of their outdoor hammocks – or bathtubs – or chat with new friends at the rooftop Jacuzzi or infrared sauna.

Adhering to their eco-friendly principle, they strive to source ingredients locally for their vegan buffet, which is served twice daily on an intermittent fasting schedule. The other detox is the limited WiFi that is only available during certain times of the day to help guests with a digital detox.

Explore what Mahakala Center has to offer, visit their website here.

Amanoi, Vietnam

Photos courtesy of Amanoi – @amanoi @aman
Photos courtesy of Amanoi – @amanoi @aman
Photos courtesy of Amanoi – @amanoi @aman
Photos courtesy of Amanoi – @amanoi @aman
Photos courtesy of Amanoi – @amanoi @aman
Photos courtesy of Amanoi – @amanoi @aman

Less than 100km south of Nha Trang, the Amanoi Resort occupies a slice of paradise overlooking the Vinh Hy Bay on the edge of the Núi Chúa National Park. Their spaced-out pavilions and villas feature heritage curved roofs peeking between the trees, with a choice of mountain, ocean, or lake view. Families or big groups also have the choice of their 3 to 5 bedroom residences.

But what makes Amanoi’s wellness offers standout are their two wellness villas: the forest and mountain pool wellness villa. Featuring their own treatment room, wooden Banya sauna or stone Hamman, steam room, Jacuzzi, cold plunge pool, and ice fountain, guests of these wellness villas are offered a range of complimentary treatments. 

If you’re not seeking such indulgence, Amanoi also offers Detox & Cleaning and Mindfulness & Stress Management programs upwards of 3 days minimum. Both include spa treatment and twice daily group movement classes, with a 30 minute departure consultation to make sure you get the most out of your stay.

For those that can pull themselves out of the many offerings of the Amanoi Resort, there’s snorkeling or kayaking from the private beach, or treks in the nearby national park. Culture lovers would be delighted to know that a guided tour to the nearby Cham ruins is also available.

To plan your retreat to Amanoi, visit their website here.

Escape Haven, Bali

Photos courtesy of Escape Haven – @escapehaven
Photos courtesy of Escape Haven – @escapehaven
Photos courtesy of Escape Haven – @escapehaven
Photos courtesy of Escape Haven – @escapehaven

When it comes to yoga retreats, Bali is among the most popular destinations. Hailed as the best luxury wellness retreat in 2019, Escape Haven is a woman-only sanctuary in Canggu, less than a kilometer to the beach.

The space comprises of 5 one-bedroom villas, 1 two-bedroom pool villa, and 1 three-bedroom pool villa, with a shared infinity pool and surrounded by a lush tropical garden. Each villa is completed with an outdoor rain shower and freestanding tub, butler service, and daily housekeeping, ideal for those who want to live out their Bali dream.

Yoga is not the only focus for Escape Haven, who also specialise in surf, fitness, and Ayurveda healing. They have a variety of packages depending on your focus, all are all inclusive for 7 days with no hidden costs. For yoga, culture, and spa, their Refresh package is ideal. For more surf, spa, and yoga, choose the Revive package. Both offer unlimited spa treatments and chauffeurs. For a more healing orientated touch, the Ayurveda Healing package includes a consultation and 4 Ayurveda treatments with unlimited yoga on site and in their partner studio. Detox with its unlimited spa treatment, twice daily yoga and cleansing diet is also a good candidate, as well as the Wellness package with daily spa and yoga. They also offer fitness, pilates, and bucket list packages for those who are looking for yoga alternatives.

To make a getaway to Escape Haven, visit their website here.

Como Shambhala Estate, Bali Indonesia

North of Ubud, the jungle heart of Bali, the Como Shambhala Estate is a health retreat that specialises in yoga and Pilates. With four programs: Cleanse, Be Active, Ayurvedic, and Bespoke available starting from three nights, guests stay in freestanding residences, each with their unique touch, pool, and shaded pavilions.

All of the packages offer a full board. The Cleanse features a wellness consultation once every 7 nights to make sure your body is balanced, with a prescribed diet, daily massage or cleansing treatment, and a personal activity schedule. It is similar to Bespoke, which focuses more on stress management or rejuvenation. Be Active is for those who seek to challenge their body, involving two consultations, an individual treatment plan, activity schedule, and prescribed diet. The extra keen can also choose between daily massage, personal training or guided challenge. The Ayurveda therapy involves a highly personalised prescription and guests are encouraged to contact them to find out more.

Guests can join their daily schedule of activity with at least one yoga class, one fitness class, and cultural outings at a small fee such as a village walk, rice field biking, and Balinese dance for all guests.

To explore more about Como Shambhala Estate, visit their website here.

Looking to de-stress with a yoga session from the comfort of your home?Check out our article 7 Yoga Teachers To Follow Online to help inspire and deepen your yoga practice.

By Nam Cheah